Secondary Fermenter?

Forums General Brewing Secondary Fermenter?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  BrewTogether 5 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #953

    John
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    Do you use a secondary fermenter? Why or why not? I’ve heard a lot of conflicting opinions on the use of a secondary. I’ve always used one, but it’s just because that’s the way I learned to brew. Anyone have any advice?

    #959

    Dave
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    For me, I started doing secondary fermentations because someone gave me a glass carboy. The primary reason was to produce a clearer beer. Now that I do all-grain brewing, there tends to be more yeast and other particulate matter that settles out during primary fermentation, and racking it to secondary gets it off the yeastcake at the bottom of the fermenter sooner. However, I have a friend who makes good tasting beers and never does a secondary fermentation, so I really don’t know if doing a secondary fermentation really changes the flavor or not. Has anyone done a test where they rack half to secondary and leave the other half in primary, then later compares them?

    #1216

    Rk.co
    Participant
    • Level 1 User

    It all depends on the beer style and what you would like to do with the beer! Also if you harvest yeast or rack onto fruit! A lot of different reason to do secondary.

    I know a lot of people who only do primary as well but usually they only do this because of the work involved with racking into secondary. There are pro and cons I guess.

    #1221

    John
    Participant
    • Level 2 User
    • ★★

    Good point! I didn’t think about how it helps with yeast harvesting. I’ve always done a secondary out of habit, but never really considered why!

    #1601

    Jim
    Participant
    • Level 1 User

    Why are your doing a secondary????

    Unless you’re doing an actual secondary fermentation, all you’re doing is putting the beer at risk of oxidation and potential infection on the homebrew scale.

    #1602

    William
    Participant
    • Level 1 User

    it’s not very difficult to rack a beer without oxidation even from carboy to carboy. the goal of secondary would be to aid in clarification and, in some cases, batch aging to maturity. Considering maturity comes much later for some beers, that long of a wait would cause apoptosis of the yeast cells causing off flavors amongst other things.

    #1603

    Jim
    Participant
    • Level 1 User

    If you are racking carboy to carboy you are introducing a boatload of oxygen to an anaerobic environment. Unless you’re doing a closed transfer pushed by nitrogen or CO2 into a vessel purged with CO2 (and sealed until pushed out by liquid transfer), you are unnecessarily exposing your beer to oxygen by using a secondary.

    If you want to prolong freshness and flavor stability, don’t use a secondary unless you are conducting an actual secondary fermentation.

    #1609

    BrewTogether
    Keymaster

      We’ll do an experiment! Next 10 gallon batch we do, we’ll go ahead and rack 5 to secondary and leave the other 5 in the primary for the full fermentation time and do a side-by-side comparison. We’ll put up a blog post when we do the experiment, but we’ll also drop some notes on the forum here as well.

      Cheers!

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